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(Every year Halloween falls on
The Story of Halloween
is one of the oldest holidays with origins going back thousands of
years. The holiday we know as Halloween has had many influences from
many cultures over the centuries. From the Roman's Pomona Day, to
the Celtic festival of Samhain, to the Christian holidays of All
Saints and All Souls Days.
of years ago in what is now Great Britain and Northern France, lived
the Celts. The Celts worshipped nature and had many gods, with the
sun god as their favorite. It was "he" who commanded their work and
their rest times, and who made the earth beautiful and the crops
The Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1st. It was celebrated
every year with a festival and marked the end of the "season of the
sun" and the beginning of "the season of darkness and cold."
On October 31st after the crops were all harvested and stored for the
long winter the cooking fires in the homes would be extinguished.
The Druids, the Celtic priests, would meet in the hilltop in the
dark oak forest (oak trees were considered sacred). The Druids would
light new fires and offer sacrifices of crops and animals. As they
danced around the the fires, the season of the sun passed and the
season of darkness would begin.
morning arrived the Druids would give an ember from their fires to
each family who would then take them home to start new cooking
fires. These fires would keep the homes warm and free from evil
spirits.The November 1st festival was called Samhain (pronounced "sow-en"). The
festival would last for 3 days. Many people would parade in costumes
made from the skins and heads of their animals. This festival would
become the first Halloween.
the first century the Romans invaded Britain. They brought with
them many of their festivals and customs. One of these was the
festival know as Pomona Day, named for their goddess of fruits and
gardens. It was also celebrated around the 1st of November. After
hundreds of years of Roman rule the customs of the Celtic's Samhain
festival and the Roman Pomona Day mixed becoming 1 major fall
The next influence came with the spread of the new Christian religion
throughout Europe and Britain. In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic
Church would make November 1st a church holiday to honor all the
saints. This day was called All Saint's Day, or Hallowmas, or All
Hallows. Years later the Church would make November 2nd a holy day.
It was called All Souls Day and was to honor the dead. It was
celebrated with big bonfires, parades, and people dressing up as
saints, angels and devils.
the spread of Christianity did not make people forget their early
customs. On the eve of All Hallows, Oct. 31, people continued to
celebrate the festivals of Samhain and Pomona Day. Over the years
the customs from all these holidays mixed. October 31st became known
as All Hallow Even, eventually All Hallow's Eve, Hallowe'en, and
then - Halloween.
The Halloween we celebrate today includes all of these influences, Pomona Day's apples, nuts, and harvest, the Festival of Samhain's black cats, magic, evil spirits and death, and the ghosts, skeletons and skulls from All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day.
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